Uber has faced with lawsuits at least three times over the past year for failing to accommodate passengers with wheelchairs, but Uber isn’t the only one facing such lawsuit. Non-profit org Disability Rights Advocates has filed a class-action lawsuit against Lyft on behalf of Independent Living Resource Center and two wheelchair users in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The lawsuit is accusing Lyft of violating the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which says that people with disabilities are entitled to fill and equal accommodation, and of the California Disabled Persons Act. In a statement to TechCrunch, a spokesperson defending Lyft said that the firm as “partnerships and programs in place to provide enhanced WAV (wheelchair-accessible vehicle) access in various parts of the country, and are actively exploring ways to expand them nationwide.”
The spokesperson was likely referring to Lyft’s program called Access, which is designed to serve people with disabilities, and the lawsuit calls a “sham.” Plaintiffs say that when riders activate Access mode and hail a car, Lyft sends them a message “stating that [it] has no wheelchair-accessible vehicles available” and provides them “with a list of public transit, paratransit and taxicab phone numbers” instead.
TechCrunch apparently put Access through the test and was able to replicate the text message that said:
“Lyft accommodates service animals and foldable wheelchairs. If you need a vehicle with a ramp or lift, visit https://lft.to/access to connect to local services.”
If passengers aren’t able to get out or get into wheelchairs on their own, they will have to look elsewhere. Here’s what the plaintiffs explained in a statement:
“Lyft’s discrimination compounds what is already a major societal problem — extremely limited transportation options for people who use wheelchairs in the Bay Area. For instance, many parts of the BART system are inaccessible due to elevator outages. Bus service is often slow and may not take riders where they need to go. Wheelchair-accessible Ubers are rarely, if ever, available.”
Disability Rights Advocates and the people they represent aren’t seeking any money from Lyft (aside form attorney’s fees). They are only seeking for Lyft to comply into improving accessibility and come up with a proper solution for disabled passengers.